Mindful Partner Intimacy

Mindful Partner Intimacy: Cultivating Stable Intimacy

Becoming capable of mindfully cultivating & protecting intimacy with a partner is the holy grail of personal discoveries. Once you understand the direct correlation of this to the quality of your life, you can’t regress to what you used to do. In previous generations, few survived the epidemic of starving for stable intimacy. The divorce rate spike of the 70’s and subsequent psychology studies of the 80’s & 90’s are proof we are not satisfied. The irony of our human condition is the gap between our needs and our obsession. Perhaps the most embarrassing parallel metaphor is the US obsession with the F35 jet development compared to languishing education and healthcare systems. The US will spend a trillion dollars on designing a jet that may not outperform its predecessors or peers. While ironically, US education, healthcare, and social programs for the elderly and poor face severe need for reform and expanded budgets. Think of the implications for our personal habits; Our priorities are sometimes compromised by the wrong things. Whatever your trillion dollar jet focus is, does it contribute to your stable intimacy capacity? If it doesn’t, it’s not as valuable as you think it is.

“If I had to summarize over 60 years of excellent relationship research in just one sentence, that sentence would be: If you can find and be someone kind and respectful, your relationship will probably work; and if you can’t, it won’t.”Duana Welch, Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do

Wealth & Fame In No Way Increase Likelihood of Being Understood & Loved

Its fascinating what types of conditions we choose for earning or being worthy of love. Every culture on earth has different things that they value and this twists our sense of self value. This twisted thinking is deeply flawed. We are worthy and deserving of love because we’re alive. No amount of talent increases this. You are loving with or without arbitrary conditions. Being receptive and making room for who we really are and giving others the same grace, that’s love.

The Top 2 Most Powerful Traits of Lasting Partners

As Demonstrated by Relationship Scientists

#1 Mindful Kindness Wins Every Time

Thousands of partner relationships have since been studied by the famous Gottman Institute spanning four decades, founded by research psychologists Julie & John Gottman for the mission of improving relationships.  They observed a specific pattern in the most loving and resilient couples: When observed partners initiated engagement, or ‘bids’ for attention, the responding partner’s response pattern was tracked. Two types of response patterns classified as a ‘turning towards’ and a ‘turning away’ score were highly accurate in determining the health of a relationship.
Its worth noting that a ‘turning away’ response included anything from mild acknowledgement to hostility, expressing annoyance at being interrupted. ‘Turning towards’ responses were warm, fully engaged acknowledgements. The couples with a ‘turning towards’ pattern ended up having a strong lasting relationship 6 years later. The ‘turn away’ couples with low positive engagement were either divorced or struggling chronically after 6 years. Hence, small discussions or ‘bids’ to notice the hummingbirds, turned out to be important micro moments for kindness validation, which meet the partner’s emotional needs. The strongest relationships were proven to be meeting each other’s emotional needs 87% of the time on average through this simple kindness of ‘turning towards’ bids, while crumbling relationships were ‘turning towards’ meeting emotional needs a mere 30% of the time.

#2 Emotional Generosity

Apparently its more important to be generous with joy when things go right, than to ‘be there when the going gets rough.’ In 2006, research psychologist Shelly Gable studied young adult couples for patterns in partner response to good news. They identified four primary categories of responses:

  1. Passive Destructive
  2. Active Destructive
  3. Passive Constructive
  4. Active Constructive

For example, say partner A announces they got into their top choice veterinary school, partner B responds:

  1. Passive Destructive = Ignores, not giving it acknowledgement. 
  2. Active Destructive = Questioning the cost, difficulty, and any other joy-killing detail.
  3. Passive Constructive = A half hearted positive response while texting.
  4. Active Constructive = Stopping what they are doing and wholeheartedly celebrating the success.

When it was time to follow up later, the only couples still together were the ones generous enough to practice active constructive responses to each other’s news.

“Kindness doesn’t mean that we don’t express our anger, it informs how we choose to express the anger. You can throw spears at your partner or you can explain why you’re hurt and angry, and that’s the kinder path.”
– Julie Gottman, research psychologist and co-founder of Gottman Institute

Enhancing Mindful Partner Intimacy Capacity

Components of Being Loveable, Loving and Loved

The things worth mastering to be capable of cultivating stable intimacy are not things. We don’t give near enough credit to the immaterial qualities that give us the most contentment. Contentment allows us to feel like we are enough, and what we’re doing is enough. The resulting personal peace is an overlap gift, meaning that giving it to yourself is nearly the same as giving it to your partner. Because you can’t give something you don’t have.



Mindfulness is being present without being judgemental, which is the opposite of being self absorbed in thoughts about what you like and don’t like. Applied in a partnership, mindfulness allows a special type of personal alignment, in which you deeply examine your desires and find what’s blocking you from acting with kindness. Maintaining personal balance during wild circumstances is critical, but not easy to do. This centered state allows you to remain receptive, loving and able to move forward with maximized creativity for solutions.


  • Uncomplicated Harmony
  • Reserving Mental Clarity For Solutions
  • Not Wasting Energy On Reactive Emotions Such As Anger


Kindness applied as a constant in partnership is practicing your personal cure for ‘reaction’ based thinking and habits. Reactions create and pour fuel on emotional fires. Kindness is the water that prevents it, puts it out, and helps us better understand each other.


  • Preventing Emotional Harm
  • Strengthening Connection
  • Maximizing Room For Sacred Moments Of Connection


Emotional Generosity

Emotional generosity means consistently making the most generous assumptions about your partner’s intentions, actions and words as possible. This continually reinforces the safety of the relationship and increases how often partners communicate in constructive ways.


  • Trust Building
  • Passion Invoking
  • Feeling Loving & Loved
Relationship Enrichment Alert: by the small things that will change everything?

Ready For Changes? Being Mindfully Kind Can Permanently Upgrade Your Life

The following resources result from testing these habits in maximum security prison, gathering the best international research for six years and continuing efforts to make these principles accessible to everyone.

Saint Badass, mindful living

Saint Badass

Hear the backstory of how Roy, a life sentence serving inmate met Doug, a retired university professor, and started the journey of testing mindful kindness under the severest circumstances. The history of abuse, retaliation and transcendence without physically leaving a maximum security prison is breath taking.

  • True Story
  • Prison Culture Language Intact
  • The Power Of Mindful Kindness Under Severe Duress

Learn More + Read An Excerpt

How Love Wins

Kindness is underestimated by many cultures, but mixed with certain qualities, it’s extremely powerful. In the research based work of How Love Wins, Doug Carnine, PhD explains how fusing mindful kindness into everyday living has a profound upgrading effect to all you do, and how you feel.

  • Sustainable Giving Exists
  • Weaken Unkind Habits While Strengthening Kind Habits
  • Improve Your Capacity For Connection With Others

Learn More + Read An Excerpt
Already feeling different about what’s possible? Congratulations.


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